“You’re so emotional!” That’s what my client, Janine, heard throughout her early years. And you know it wasn’t said as a compliment, but rather as a reprimand. From this and other negative judgments, Janine learned that it’s not good to allow yourself to feel your emotions. Her caregivers taught her that some emotions were “unacceptable”.
To gain approval and protect herself from being hurt, she started bottling up her feelings. Not only did she become good at hiding her emotions from others, she began to hide them from herself… to the point where she didn’t know what she liked or even who she was anymore!
Have you ever experienced anything like Janine? When you were sad were you told, “Oh, don’t be such a baby!” or when you were angry, did they say, “That’s so ugly. No one is going to like you, if you keep that up little Missy.”
We react strongly to emotions we judge as negative. Emotions like grief, sadness, anger, shame, and fear make us uncomfortable and afraid. When we see them in others, it’s unpleasant, so we try to make them go away.